The Municipal Unit of Mithimna
Molivos, Eftalou, Vafeios, Argenos, Lepetymnos,Sikamnia-Skala Sikamnias
Mithimna, or otherwise know today as Molivos, is one of the main reasons one should visit Lesvos today. Why? Because it is one of the most well-preserved traditional settlements in the world that has stood the test of time. According to mythology, the village was named after Mithimna, one of King Macara’s daughters, as were other villages throughout the island, namely Mitilini, Antissa, Arisvi and Eressos.
Molivos is situated strategically amphitheatrically on a small hill on the northern part of the island. Sitting at the crown of the village, visitors will find the Byzantine castle of Mithimna which was built by the Byzantines, early in the 1300s and renovated by the Gattelousi family, who were from Genoa, in 1373. The best hour to visit this castle is while the sun is diving into the sea. At night, the lighted castle offers stunning views to its visitors from the harbor and the entrance of the village from afar. All passageways lead down either to the main beach of Molivos or to the picturesque harbor, where you will find café-bars, shops, restaurants and seafood tavernas where you can enjoy fresh catch of the day, local handmade dishes accompanied by what else…ouzo and more!
Whilst walking amongst the cobblestone streets, you get the feeling that you are walking upon the steps of our ancesters. Unique for its unbelievable natural beauty and charming, unspoilt architecture, the buildings made of stone particular to the region and wood painted in special colours are no more than two stories high and are topped with terracotta rooftop tiles. You will discover mansions with “sahnisinia” a traditional architectural element from the 19th century, which are balconies made of wood which lean on stone walls. The combination of colours, light and materials create a picturesque and romantic environment that remind you of fairytales. One of the alleys of Molivos in the main market place, known as the “Agora” has been voted as one of the most beautiful streets in the world. In springtime, the purple wisteria flower decorating the main market place, lined with traditional souvenir shops, tavernas, patisseries and café-bars with “hanging balconies” overlooking the Aegean sea is in full bloom, exploding all senses of sight and smell when roaming the streets.
Leaving Molivos heading in the direction of Eftalou, you will find the majority of hotels that decorate the landscape of Eftalou, with a final stop, the Thermal Springs of Eftalou, approximatel 4 kilometers from Molivos. If you have never tried hot springs, it would be a good idea not to miss this opportunity, as it is a truly relaxing experience!!Before entering, it is best to swim in the sea or take a cold shower. This makes it easier to enter the hot water! Apart from a relaxing experience, the hot springs are really helpful for particular ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, skeletal deformities, skin inflammation, gynecological issues and more. This is the perfect place for meditation and relaxation.
(Please note that currently the hotsprings are undergoing a procedure for becoming officially recognized by the government as natural springs and will soon be made available to the public once again).
It comes as no surprise that Mithimna-or Molivos, has inspired poets, artists, musicians and writers throughout history until today such as Arion the first kitharode, Argyris Eftaliotis, Ilias Venezi, Freddy Germanou, Lefteris Pappadopoulos and more! Come and “feel” the essence of Lesvos for yourself as each day is lived to its fullest here and mere acquaintances have a way of turning into friends for life…
Vafeios is a the first mountainous settlement you will find as you leave Molivos going in the direction of Sikaminia. Renown once for its local gastronomy, today visitors will find one last remaining traditional tavern with locally inspired handmade dishes which you can enjoy amongst olive trees looking out towards Molivos and the Aegean sea in the distance some 4 km away. The picturesque village is surrounded by beautiful hiking paths leading towards the Ligona watermill valley with its 18 medieval watermills, some well preserved still today, as well as to the villages of Petri, Petra and Stipsi in outstanding natural landscapes.
Argenos is a small settlement which lies on the highest peak of Lepetymos, a mountain approximately 1000 meters high. As a result, the landscape surrounding Argenos offers amazing views of jagged rocks overlooking the Aegean sea and Asia minor, luscious flora with all the shades of green, with oak, chestnut and olive groves as well as oregano and thyme growing in abundance in the area.
According to a legend, its name comes from the first settler and founder “Argenos”. The main church of the village “Saint George”, was built in 1777 and is a great attraction for visitors. Argenos was also the birthplace of writer George Valetas, whose house has been turned into a museum. Visitors must pay a stop at the main square of the village and hang out with the locals, trying special mezes at the local “kafeneions” – taverns!
In the 1960s, the village of Chalikas-Lepetymnos was devastated by an earthquake, and thus, the village of Lepetymnos was built completely from the beginning, only a few 100 meters beneath the original town. Lepetymnos is a small village nestled in a mountainous landscape of oaks, chestnut and plane trees overlooking the Aegean sea and Asia minor. Nature-lovers can explore its fauna and flora on foot as it is surrounded by beautiful hiking paths in the mountainous region of Lepteymnos. The village of Lepetymnos celebrates every 14th and 15th of August the Virgin Mary or “Panagia”, whose icon survived the devastation of the earthquake and since then a religious festival is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Don’t miss the celebrations if you can as you will be treated to live traditional music, special festive dishes and really get the feel for what a Greek “Panigiri” or festival is like…A “must” especially for families, is the Kariofillis petting farm, where you can meet George Kariofillis and learn about aronia superfood berries which he cultivates and get to meet his beloved animals!
Sikamnia, like Molivos, is an officially preserved traditional settlement, built on the slopes of Mt. Lepetymnos. There too, you can walk through the cobblestone alleys and admire the houses which are made of stone as well as the mansions with “sahnisinia” a traditional architectural element from the 19th century. “Sahnisinia” are balconies made of wood which lean on stone walls. At the base of the village you can visit the house of the famous Greek writer Strati Myrivili which is open to visitors upon request. Just a few kilometers north of Sikamnia, is Skala Sikamnias, a popular fishing port and tourist attraction, probably one of the most photographed spot on the island, as it is home to the small church of Panagia Gorgona (Virgin Mary the Mermaid) which is built on a rock that extends into the sea! According to tradition, the church was named after a remarkable wall painting that once existed, of unique inspiration, that represented Virgin Mary with the tail of a mermaid… which in Greek is a “gorgona” or “mermaid”. The famous Lesbian novelist Stratis Myrivilis was inspired by this small beautiful church and wrote the homonymous novel!
Mithimna (Molivos) – Eftalou
|1. The Byzantine Castle of Molivos -one of the most well-preserved castles in the Eastern Mediterranean and the most amazing view.|
|2. The Conference Center of Molivos in the market “Agora” of Molivos- a former mosque with a minaret looming above.|
|3. The Municipal Art Gallery of Mithimna(Molivos)|
|4. The School of Fine Arts Annex in the Krallis Mansion- located near the market – “Agora” of Molivos with frescoes decorating its cellings and walls.|
|5. The Ottoman Hamam Museum in the Agora of Molivos.|
|6. The Public History Library of Mithimna(Molivos).|
|7. The Ottoman fountains of Molivos at different locations throughout the village. How many are there?|
|8. Roam the cobblestone streets of the “Agora” of Molivos with its shops with hanging balconies and amazing views of the Aegean. Tip: In springtime the wisteria flower convering the “Agora” is in bloom and is an eplosion for the senses with its aromas and colours|
|9. The special architecture of the protected by law traditional settlement and the “Sahnisi” styles o various buildings.|
|10. The fishing Harbour of Molivos with traditional fish taverns, cafe-bars and shops. You can even book day trips by bot at the harbor!|
|11. Ruins of ancient Mithimna at the entrance of Molivos and at various locations along the road to the harbour, near Congas Beach Bar and even underwater at the harbor.|
|12. The Hot springs of Eftalou.|
|13. The House of Illias Venezi in Eftalou and his grave in the churchyard of St. Kyriaki, with inscription “Peace” on it.|
|14. The Women’s Cooperative on the main road towards the harbour with handmade sweet and savory goods.|
|15. The agricultural cooperative in autumn when the olives are pressed into fresh olive oil.|
|16. Psiriari Sandy Beach with an amazing view of Molivos.|
|17. Various popular yoga and wellness centers offering seminars, therapies.|
|18. The local festival of St. Theoktisti in July and a rich summer and winter programme of events.|
|1. The Church of St. Ioannis on the outskirts of the village and the local festival of St. Ioannis in August.|
|2. The traditional taverna “Vafeios” with local specialities and beautiful sunset overlooking Molivos in the distance.|
|3. The hiking paths of the region.|
|1. The museum of scholar Giorgios Valetas which houses his belongings, as well as the National Resistance Museum of Lesvos.|
|2. The Library of Literature of Lesvos.|
|3. The local “Kafeneions” with traditional mezes and drinks surrounding its main square.|
|4. The Church of St. George built in 1777.|
|5. The walnut grove of Argenos.|
|6. The natural hot springs “Megala Therma”. You can see steaming from the beach of Argenos.|
|1. The Farm of George Kariofyllis and caltivator of Aronia Berries.|
|2. The central square of Lepetymnos with its amazing view of the Aegean and Asia Minor.|
|3. The local “Kafeneions” with traditional mezes and drinks.|
|4. The walking paths of Lepetymnos.|
Sikaminia – Skala Sikaminia
|1. The Folk Museum of Strati Myrivilli housing his personal belongings.|
|2. The Church of St. Fotini in Sikaminia, built in 1895.|
|3. Roam the cobblestone streets of the acclaimed by law “Traditional Settlement” of Sikaminia and discover its beauty.|
|4. The local “Kafeneions” in the central square of Sikaminia and at the entrance of Sikaminia with its hanging balcony overlooking the Aegean with their traditional mezes and drinks.|
|5. The fishing harbour of Skala Sikaminia with its traditional tavernas, cafes, shops and the “Moria (Mullberry Tree) of Myrivilli”.|
|6. The “Panagia Gorgona” church built upon the rock in the fishing village of Skala Sikaminia.|
Enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, boat trips, fishing, doing yoga, horsebackriding, a variety of cultural, gastronomical and sport festivals and races throughout the year and more!